Nestled on the beautiful Mersey River in North-West Tasmania, Latrobe is a charming rural town surrounded by rich, fertile farmland and just a short drive from the ocean.

The road into town offers a serene sense of what’s to come: you’re surrounded by views of green pastureland, grazing horses and roadside stalls selling some of the region’s freshest produce.

Driving down the main street of Latrobe feels like a step back to a simpler time. There are more than 70 heritage-listed buildings in the town, with many that can be seen on a simple stroll or guided tour down Gilbert Street with its eclectic shops, cafes, art and crafts shops, and antique stores. There are also fine restaurants, cafes, bakeries and even a genuine Belgian chocolate factory.

While your stay here is sure to be one of quiet relaxation, Latrobe truly comes to life each Sunday, with its busy country market drawing crowds from far and wide.

Built on mining and agricultural beginnings from the mid-19th century, Latrobe was once the region’s major port on the banks of the Mersey River. The former port is now the scenic picnic parkland, Bells Parade. With barbecue facilities, shelters, toilets and numerous short walks, Bells Parade makes an ideal location for a picnic or a serene spot to stop and relax.

The Australian Axeman’s Hall of Fame is also located at Bell’s Parade and recognises Latrobe’s pioneering role in competitive wood chopping, after the world’s first wood chop competition was staged here in 1891.

In true Tasmanian fashion, Latrobe hosts several festivals throughout the year. These include the Chocolate Winterfest that celebrates all things chocolate, the Henley on Mersey river festival, held every Australia Day and featuring egg throwing, model boat sailing and ferret racing, and the annual Latrobe Boxing Day Carnival, which is the longest running carnival of its kind in the world, featuring athletics, wood chopping and the richest wheel race in Australia.

Also known as the platypus “Capital of the World”, if you travel to Warrawee Forest Reserve, just several minutes out of the Latrobe town centre, you might be lucky enough to see this unique egg-laying mammal in its natural environment.

Port Sorell, Shearwater & Hawley

With golden beaches, sheltered inlets and emerald green water, it’s no wonder the picture-perfect coastal village of Port Sorell and its neighbouring towns Shearwater, Hawley Beach and Squeaking Point are such popular holiday and visitor destinations.

Along with its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the Port Sorell region is often described as having a warm ‘microclimate’, making it perfect year-round to experience the beautiful safe swimming beaches, numerous walking and bicycle trails, tranquil bush walks, two 9-hole golf courses and excellent seaside fishing.

The area is particularly popular as a couple’s retreat, with relaxing seaside accommodation and its very own vineyard, Ghost Rock Wines, just on the outskirts of town.

But Port Sorell really comes to life over spring and summer when families flock to the area, attracted by calm child-friendly ocean, vast beaches that never feel crowded and bustling community events like the twilight markets held by the surf club in holiday season.

The campgrounds and caravan park fill up quickly in the warmer months, but there are plenty of accommodation options, including self-contained holiday houses and units, and bed and breakfasts as well.

In Port Sorell, nature-lovers are spoiled for choice with things to do and see, and budding photographers will love it too – the glorious pink, orange and gold that lights up the sky at sunset and sunrise truly needs to be seen to be believed.

The Rubicon Estuary has been named an ‘Important Bird Area’ by Bird Life International because of its geographic importance for the Pied Oystercatchers. The estuary also has a permanent floating pontoon for saltwater fishing and boat launching, and the more energetic can walk to Penguin Island and Rabbit Island during low tide.

There is also a range of boutique shops, supermarkets, cafes and eateries to explore.